Gremlins (1984): Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Joe Dante, Gremlins is a black-comedy about teenager, Billy, who gets a new pet called a Mogwai with three important rules: keep him out of bright light, don’t get him wet, and never feed him after midnight. If you’re looking for a different kind of Christmas classic that holds up remarkably well, Gremlins is the perfect choice. The writing is so cartoonish and over the top that it’s impossible not to enjoy where even when the titular creatures are killing people, it is never to be taken seriously and is a lot of fun because of it. Characters are either the worst people imaginable meeting their end in gloriously comedic fashion or ridiculously nice people trying to fix things with no real in between. The script is solid one throughout (despite questionable logic that even the sequel will poke fun at) as many minor details that are setup have a payoff as well as taking the time to have side gags about new inventions going wrong. It’s evident in the actors’ performances also that they are just enjoying themselves. Gizmo, voiced brilliantly by Howie Mandel, is possibly the most adorable thing ever put on screen. The special effects to bring the Mogwai and Gremlins to life still look great with brilliant use of puppetry and stop-motion animation. The score by Jerry Goldsmith is iconic and used perfectly in its many styles and great balance of catchy fun mixed with something quite menacing. Gremlins is not a cinematic masterpiece but it is one of the most enjoyable films ever made. It is ridiculously entertaining with a fun script, a gruesome sense of humour, and brilliant special effects to go along with everyone putting a Mogwai on their Christmas list. A true underrated Christmas classic. Rating: 7.9.